View Full Version : "diverse life saving effects in the body", thread about cortisol.

08-20-13, 10:51 PM
"Adrenal Cortex: Actions Of Cortisol"

Cortisol is the chief steriod hormone secreted by the cells of the middle part of the Human adrenal cortex (zona fasciculata),

diverse life saving effects in the body.

Cortisol promotes gluconeogenesis & increases blood glucose-

Cortisol's best-known action is to increase blood glucose supply for tissues,

mainly the brain and heart.

It acts by promoting catabolism of proteins and by stimulating conversion of the resultant amino acids to glucose (gluconeogenesis).

Gluconeogenesis occurs principally in the liver.

It is for this role in carbohydrate metabolism that cortisol and similar steriods are called "gluco" -corticoids.

Cortisol, secreted in response to various stresses, is essential for life-

Cortisol has numerous other effects in the body.

Along with gluconeogenic action,

many of these are intimately related to body responses in various "stress" conditions.

Some of these responses are short term,

exerted in conjunction with the actions of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla.

Actions of cortisol in the stress response are exerted independently from the adrenal medulla and are longer lasting.

Because cortisol is so important in defending the body against noxious and traumatic stresses,

it is considered essential for life.

Adrenalectomized animals and humans may die if exposed to sudden unexpected stresses.


Stress induces CRH & ACTH release from hypothalamus & pituitary-

Many of stressful conditions (cold, fasting,starvation, loss of blood pressure [hypotension], hemorrhage, surgery, infections, pain from wounds and fractures, inflamations, severe exercise, and even emotional traumas) can act on the brain to release CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus into the hypophysial portal blood.

CRH stimulates the release of ACTH (corticotropin),

a polypeptide hormone,

from the corticotrop cells of the anterior pituitary.

ACTH stimulates cortisol secretion from adrenal cortex-

ACTH circulates in the blood and acts on the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex,

stimulating the synthesis and release of cortisol.

Once the cortisol level is sufficiently elevated,

CRH and ACTH secretion is decreased through the negative-feedback effect of cortisol on the hypothalamus.

This reduces the cortisol level back to the normal baseline condition.

When stress is chronic,

the brain overrides this control.

Continued stimulation of the zona fasciculata by ACTH leads to hypertrophy (excess growth) of this area and enlargement of the adrenal cortex.

Other zones remain unaffected.

Cortisol may promote the effects of catecholamines.Effects of cortisol and catecholamines are synergistic-

In many instances of short-term responses to stress,

both cortisol and catecholamines are secreted from the adrenal gland.

The increased release of cortisol occurs rapidly, with in minutes.

Although the effects of catecholamines in these instances are well known,

those of cortisol are not.

For example, the vasoconstriction and fatty acid-mobilizing effects of catecholamines are markedly reduced in the absence of cortisol.


Release of cortisol is a physiologic adaptation to stress-

The effects of cortisol in promoting long-term metabolic adaptations are better known.

This adaptation is necessary to improve defenses,

promote tissue repair and wounding-healing;

providing nutrients by way of glucose and amino acids.

During stress,

cortisol helps provide endogenous glucose for the brain & other glucose-utilizing organs-

Consider, for example, and injured animal, immobilized with broken bones, or a human stranded in the sea, overcome by starvation, fatigue, sunburn, anxiety, and despair (stress conditions).

Food intake being nil, liver and muscle glycogen stores are soon exhausted, threatening the supply of glucose to the brain and the heart.

This may have disastrous consequences, because under normal conditions, the brain relies practically entirely on glucose for its energy needs.

Adequate supplies of amino acids are also needed for injured tissues undergoing regeneration and repair.

The amino-mobilizing and gluconeogenic actions of cortisol are essential in combating these stress-related deficiencies.

Cortisol promotes protein catabolism and conversion of amino acids to glucose-

Cortisol acts on muscle, bone, and lymphatic tissue,

stimulating the catabolism of their labile protein reserves.

The "mobilized" amino acids pour into the bloodstream and are taken to the liver,

where they are deaminated (the amine group is removed) and converted to glucose (gluconeogenesis).

Cortisol also stimulates the synthesis of gluconeogenic enzymes in the liver to stimulate gluconeogenesis.

The newly formed glucose enters the blood and ensures an adequate fuel supply for the brain and heart.

Cortisol also reduces glucose uptake by muscle tissue,

sparing it for the brian and heart.

Amino acids are also used for tissue repair-

Not all of the amino acids liberated by tissue catabolism are utilized for gluconeogenesis;

some are shunted to tissues that need them for repair and regeneration.

Others are used in the liver for synthesis of blood proteins necessary for survival.

Under the influence of cortisol and catecholamines,

triglycerides of the fat cells are broken down and fatty acids are mobilized.

The latter can be used by the muscle, heart, and liver (but not the brain) for energy.

Excessive cortisol can cause certain stress diseases-

In chronic stress excess cortisol may have detrimental and harmful effects.

Thus, atrophy of lymphatic nodes, reduction in white blood cells (decreased immunity),

hypertension and vascular disorders, and possibly stomach ulcers occur after severe and prolonged stresses.

High doses of cortisol have therapeutic effects-

Large doses of cortisol (pharmacologic doses) have therapeutic effects against tissue inflammations produced by wounds, allergies or rheumatoid arthritis (joint disease).

It is not known how these pharmacologic effects of cortisol are exerted or whether they occur during "physiological" defenses.

Cortisol shows a diurnal secretion cycle-

Normally, the secretion of cortisol shows a "diurnal" (daily) cycle,

the secretion rate being highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.

This diurnal cycle is regulated by centers in the hypothalamus and is independent of stress.

Permissive actions of cortisol-

Several actions of cortisol are "permissive."

Thus, cortisol must be present for glucagon and growth hormone to exert their actions on the liver (glucogenosis) and adipose tissue (lipolysis) and catecholamines to cause vasoconstriction.

Kapit/Macey/Meisami, The PHYSIOLOGY COLORING BOOK, "Adrenal Cortex: Actions Of Cortisol", Endocrines and Hormonal Regulation, P127.


08-21-13, 04:35 AM
The sort of stress I point to - when I point to toxic stress - is the sort of stress which is accompanied by an anxiety type reaction / memory disturbance and is generally related to tackling some task which I haven't attempted before. The anxiety-type reaction is compounded by a background memory disturbance also - which results in me not being able to remember things that other people appear to be able to - however I think that a large part of being unable to remember those things - is that I wasn't paying attention to them (through lack of interest) in the first place. And furthermore - if anybody says anything to me which doesn't make sense from the bottom up - I don't (actually can't store) it.

The stress which I find toxic melts away when in some form of routine which permits me to work in autopilot in.
This need not be work - exercising for hours a day allows me to attain the frame of mind which I need to attain.

I think that this frame of mind may be what Barliman describes as mindful - though it would be hard to link it to the term.

What this mind feels like - is a mind in auto-pilot on the 'freeway' in the sun
- with no cars on the road.

It's a feeling or state of mind where there's no brain chatter/words
- and in which there's no (accordingly) stress.

Can words occur in that place ?
Maybe - not sure - I associate as being more of a trance-like state
- in which relaxation (whilst in that state) is key.

I think relaxed unstressed state of mind is required to enter into that state
- and whilst in that state - the state of relaxation is amplified, also.

Very simply - it's the state of mind which can see 'that nothing is real and that there's nothing to get hung about'
- but that general state of mind dissipates when we're thrust back into the 'real' world of having to worry about jobs, getting some experiment to work or we'll be in trouble, not making a mistake for fear of reprisals, making a train, finding a reasonably priced/competent dentist etc etc etc

- if you look at the list of factors which I intentionally randomly plucked from out of the air
- it's fairly obvious that MONEY is the commonality.

Basically - I'm in the state of mind (bliss) which I want to be in - and am prevented from that place only by money.


Now money (psychological stress) fires off a stress response.
Problem is - is that the stress response is a physical body thing - intended to mobilize glucose when we're waking up
- it was never meant to be chronically overcranked by psychological fears relating to survival/immorality/money etc

- and all that happens when it is - is that we break.

08-21-13, 05:37 AM
If I had to be very specific at what causes me the type of stress which I believe ADDers suffer from
- then that'd be taking me out from trance.

I'm in a natural trance constantly - and I hate coming out.

You can do 'things' when in trance - but the infomation needs to be stored or written and followed robotically.

If you imagine the robotic life of monks on Athos - everything at a specific time - hugely repetitive living
- well that'd be my ideal - cept they make too much noise and sing

- neither of which I can stand.

I like silence and I particularly despise words.

Words are enjoyed by those who abuse them ie make them ambiguous.

I think that's why we associate wisdom (wise men) with the use of few words
- and the childish mind with 'chattiness'.

08-22-13, 11:51 AM
Thanks SB_UK,

Lots of topics to discuss!

If I understand correctly,(?)

the reward systems respond differently to "money reward" than,

the reward of a drink of water when thirsty?

I haven't had time to explore the information,

but am really interested in starting a more specific thread, in the near future, about the differences between money reward/water reward.

Let me get back to you on that one.

I also experience the anxious feelings. (I will need to think about that one for a bit as well, working on the topic)

This thread is to learn everything about cortisol.

I would like to break down the entire Opening Post (OP).

As a layman, I would have guessed that cortisol's best-know action would have been stress-response.

In this thread I would like to explore the difference between cortisol and stress.

Interesting stuff!

Cortisol promotes gluconeogenesis & increases blood glucose-

Cortisol's best-known action is to increase blood glucose supply for tissues,

mainly the brain and heart.

(Quote from the OP (

Going to try to break down the OP topics, "Actions of Cortisol".

Lots to more to discuss,


08-22-13, 02:30 PM
List of human hormones (

08-22-13, 03:16 PM
List of human hormones (

It's all about food and reproduction.

Which is funny because I think I'm suggesting that when we're all reproductived out (pair-bonded at female menopause)
- we have to eat like ketogenic mice.

Hardly at all.

08-22-13, 03:17 PM
Gluconeogenesis (abbreviated GNG) is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon substrates such as pyruvate, lactate, glycerol, glucogenic amino acids, and odd-chain fatty acid.

It is one of the two main mechanisms humans and many other animals use to keep blood glucose levels from dropping too low (hypoglycemia). The other means of maintaining blood glucose levels is through the degradation of glycogen (glycogenolysis).[1]

Gluconeogenesis is a ubiquitous process, present in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.[2] In vertebrates, gluconeogenesis takes place mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the cortex of kidneys. In ruminants, this tends to be a continuous process.[3] In many other animals, the process occurs during periods of fasting, starvation, low-carbohydrate diets, or intense exercise. The process is highly exergonic until ATP or GTP are utilized, effectively making the process endergonic. For example, the pathway leading from pyruvate to glucose-6-phosphate requires 4 molecules of ATP and 2 molecules of GTP. Gluconeogenesis is often associated with ketosis. Gluconeogenesis is also a target of therapy for type II diabetes, such as metformin, which inhibits glucose formation and stimulates glucose uptake by cells.[4] In ruminants, because metabolizable dietary carbohydrates tend to be metabolized by rumen organisms, gluconeogenesis occurs regardless of fasting, low-carbohydrate diets, exercise, etc.[5]


08-22-13, 03:20 PM
I don't think there's any reward from water.

Just from blood glucose elevation (carbs and eg animal protein)
- and money reward draws on the same basic mechanism.

When we transcend the blood glucose elevation (stimulation) paradigm (when the stimulant medications no longer work)
- we find we've transcended money

(no longer can gain reward from money)


Is there any reward from drinking water ?
No - it's just a given, I think.

08-22-13, 03:23 PM
In many other animals, the process occurs during periods of fasting, starvation, low-carbohydrate diets, or intense exercise.
The perfect lifestyle.

08-22-13, 03:46 PM
I think we're meant to be overcranking glucagon and not involving cortisol.

I think that cortisol is being used far beyond what was intended - because of the level of psych. stress we're under.

It wasn't ever meant to be used as heavily as we use it - in the Western style of living.

Some might like the uncertainty of it all - not knowing where any of it is going to lead - living on the edge -

but I think it's stressful - and is not compatible with quality mindful/relaxed/dissociated/meditative/creative/daydreaming-type mind.

08-22-13, 06:43 PM
Glucagon, a peptide hormone secreted by the pancreas, raises blood glucose levels. Its effect is opposite that of insulin, which lowers blood glucose levels.[1] The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar (glucose) levels fall too low. Glucagon causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream. High blood glucose levels stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin allows glucose to be taken up and used by insulin-dependent tissues. Thus, glucagon and insulin are part of a feedback system that keeps blood glucose levels at a stable level. Glucagon belongs to a family of several other related hormones.


08-22-13, 06:53 PM
Glucagon --------Homeostasis--------Insulin

Blood sugar homeostasis is somewhere between glucagon and insulin?

I wasn't thinking about glucagon.

Fascinating, thanks SB_UK


08-23-13, 01:32 AM
Permissive actions of cortisol-

Several actions of cortisol are "permissive."

Thus, cortisol must be present for glucagon and growth hormone to exert their actions on the liver (glycogenolysis) and adipose tissue (lipolysis) and catecholamines to cause vasoconstriction.

Quote from the OP (

08-23-13, 02:06 AM
Under normal unstressed conditions, the human adrenal glands produce the equivalent of 35–40 mg of cortisone acetate per day.Meaning that we're required to be sensitive to the 'low' level of cortisone we produce, to permit gluconeogenesis/ketogenesis to occur.

Chronic psych. stress induces cortisone resistance - with the mechanism described here:

If you were given to being an endocrinologist, you'd probably have no interest in immunology
- because immunological conditions are downstream of endocrine (cortisol resistance) are downstream of psychology (psychological stress) are downstream of sociology (societal infrastructure - embracing inequality) are downstream of philosophy (the structure of logic ('global' mind)) which in its far sub-infinite wisdom - allowed, supported, did not object to the way (inequality positively embraced) things were.

So - the cause of Western style living disorders is unambiguously identified as global logical inconsistency governing human interactions - from the perspective of all of species wellbeing.

That is - that there has effectively been no intelligent mind moving the chess pieces on all of human functioning.

08-23-13, 02:18 AM
As the avatar indicates - the 'horse' (representing governing paradigm by the citizen of a global village with no governing elite) check-mates both (opposing faction) Kings (as key representatives of hierarchical societal construction).

It's illogical for the citizen, in the interests of the citizen's health not to do so.

And - it's in the best interests of the King - though the less enlightened Kings - as we see in the Middle East currently
- may not, immediately, see it that way.

08-24-13, 03:08 AM
So - yes cortisol is life-saving, and so cortisol resistance ((ie cortisol not working so well) from exposure to life-long psychological stress) is severely life threatening by human beings losing control of their own immune system.

We don't need to look at the logic of the immune system - it's completely under endocrine control - and endocrine control is lost in the presence of psychological warfare within a societal infrastructure which enforces and widens inequality.

08-24-13, 03:14 AM
Love the question of why is cortisol (just a random hormone) anti-inflammatory.
Come back to the idea that cortisol is just across the board growth inhibitory.
What'd happen if you lost inhibition of growth ?
All of the many diseases which occcur on account of uncontrolled growth.

How can this whole problem be solved ?
Living life in a moral societal infrastructure (no psychological stress) on a ketogenic lifestyle.

That's all that's requried.

But we want proof ?
Well - that's pretty much what happens on Mount Athos - the only other minor differences between them and some of us 'd be a little time exercising in the sun

-- and they have no disease - at least none of the diseases which are achieving epidemic level in Western style living.


Ask a child what they'd think 'd cause a cell to grow too fast ?
And they'd say the cell is eating too much.

And they'd be right.

All (diseases - Western disorders) down to blood glucose versus ketone body control.

08-24-13, 03:28 AM
And you can't keep your blood glucose steady in a societal context which isn't dissimilar to all out warfare.

Fighting to keep your job, fighting to be healthy enough not to take sick leave, fighting mad egotistical 'bosses', fighting not to take holidays, fighting colleagues for pay rises or interesting projects, fighting for career progression, fighting experiments which're doomed to fail, fighting inflation, fighting rising cost of housing and food, fighting polluted environments, fighting fighting fighting ... ... ...

And all of those problems go away if we have a global village in which all people contribute a little time and effort to their own food/shelter provision.

That's all.

Thereafter - they need not do anything, if they cannot find anything that aligns with their sense of morality.

No one can call them 'scroungers' because they're paying their own way - through personal effort - in the 2 basic things they need to survive.

They'd be as much scroungers as any fully sustainable autonomous religious community
- who aren't (of course) scroungers - but are showing us the way it should be done.

08-24-13, 03:40 AM
The fundamental (toxic) stress is not being happy at birth for life.

We need to 'earn' happiness.

That's the (effective) point in life.

As long as we're engaged in selfish/primitive reward system activities (materialism)
- our mind 'builds' in the wrong way.

We travel further from the mind of wisdom (of understanding reality wholly, globally, consistently)
- get caught up in minutiae which really don't matter.

The big picture can't form -
the big picture unlocks the mind (the mind - what it contains within) - ceases to matter.

The path to wisdom was simply a key which unlocks happiness concomitant on attaining a fixed moral state.

We're under stress till attaining that 'freedom'
- but sadly are under stress until using that new mind to change societal infrastructure into one which is fair.


Are stressed in a societal infrastructre of equality post-wisdom.

So - we're stressed pre-wisdom and stressed post-wisdom in a world of social inequality.
Can minimise the stress pre-wisdom down to negligible in a fair societal infrastructure with holistic educational system (from the top down and bottom up)

- and the stress post-wisdom in an equality societal structure 'd be more accurately described as replaced by bliss.

08-24-13, 03:55 AM
In many other animals, the process occurs during periods of fasting, starvation, low-carbohydrate diets, or intense exercise.

Thanks to G.
As a process of transformation [it] is brought about by the effects of katharsis (purification of mind and body) and [self-reflection]. [This transformation] is very much the purpose of human life.

So - what's the basic point ?
Cortisol sensitivity is essential to controlling physiology.
Cortisol resistance occurs through immersion in current society.
A change in society which is permissive to living life the ascetic (ketogenic) way will lead to a life without the disorders of Western living and poverty.
Can't maintain ketosis if under constant threats to survival - all threats levied by other people - and not by any aspect of the natural environment.
Permit an equality societal infrastructure and an ascetic/ketogenic lifestyle and all Western/poverty diseases will be prevented.

This is proven on Mount Athos - where there is, in effect (for 1000 years and counting) - none of the diseases which are at epidemic proportions in the Western style of living.

08-24-13, 04:05 AM
And it all comes back to that fateful day when a stressed bacteria decided to use poly-hydroxybutyrate as an alternative energy source.

Thereafter - and many hundreds of millions of years later (the transition from anaerobic carb to aerobic fat (ketone body cf brain) usage) - we were to discover that beta-hydroxybutyrate (the ketone body) was our (mitochondrial) favoured fuel.

In effect this transition heralded the use of oxygen (rocket fuel) in metabolism - and drove the incredible flourishing of complexity from bacteria to eukaryote.

And as most people know - especially those in Heart and Lung Institutes
- we're heavily architected towards oxygen handling.

Mitochondria <3 ketone bodies.